Manchester United

Busby Babes – Tommy Taylor

Whichever era you talk about, Manchester United supporters are constantly on the look out for the next superstar. When Tommy Taylor scored his first goal for the club, a header from outside the penalty area, it set the way for this extraordinary talent to go on and fulfill all the potential he had and show the United fans that he would go on to have a great, but short, career with the Old Trafford club.

It will have come as no surprise to Taylor fans that his first goal was a header- this was his forte. His gift for his aerial powers is probably one of the things he will best be remembered for. The way the ball left his forehead was said to be as sweet as hitting the ball truly with your foot. As is the case with headers, Taylor’s timing and bravery were first class.

No matter what type of football was associated with the 1950s, Tommy Taylor’s goal scoring record is nothing short of phenomenal. In 166 games for United he scored 112 goals, and in only 19 games for England he found the back of the net 16 times. Even though his scoring record was staggering, he was under-rated because of the fact that his heading ability outshone what else he could offer. He was strong and worked tirelessly to the point that playing for 90 minutes became as natural as can be. His interchanging of positions between centre forward and drifting wide to the right seemed to give him that purpose to thrive on during matches.

Taylor, unlike some of the other Busby Babes, was not a one club man. He started his career at Barnsley at the age of just 16. Unsurprisingly it was his goals for the Yorkshire club that got him noticed by United. He provided Barnsley 26 goals in only 44 games for them. This was to be it for Taylor in terms of playing for the club that was also the town where he was born.

During his time at United, Taylor became popular with the fans and players and inevitably his success attracted the attentions of another club- namely Inter Milan. Having contributed so heavily in helping the club win the league titles in the seasons of 55-56 and 56-57, along with scoring in the FA Cup final defeat to Aston Villa, a bid of £65,000 from the Italian club was rejected by Matt Busby. It would have been a world transfer record had it gone through.

Speaking of bids and prices, the transfer that took place to see Taylor arrive at Manchester United from Barnsley was a strange figure of £29,999. The reason for it not being £30,000? Matt Busby did not want him to be burdened with that price tag so he gave the extra pound to a tea lady.

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